The Adventures of Nelson the NEKLS Gnome and Sherri the ShareIt Gnome (UPDATE 7/5/2024)!

The Adventures of Nelson the NEKLS Gnome and Sherri the ShareIt Gnome!

Sherri and Nelson are the best of friends. They popped into existence together at the Seneca Free Library just as the last throws of winter began to sputter out. They came to the library to spread good cheer and excitement about the upcoming summer reading program.

“Adventure Begins at the Library,” Sherri mused. “What fun! There’s so many adventures to have and explore. Thrilling ones, mysterious ones, funny ones, mushy romantic ones, action-packed ones… oh my, and those are just the adventures to READ about!”

“Just imagine all the things our friends can do themselves in the real world!” Nelson agreed with excitement. “Camping, exploring, traveling, star gazing, picnicking, flying kites, solving puzzles and mysteries, playing games, swimming, bird watching… gosh, the possibilities are endless, really!”

And so, these two cheerful friends spent the remainder of the winter and all through the spring tickling the minds of their new librarian friends and whispering ideas and inspirations to them. Before they knew it, the end of the school year arrived, and Summer Reading was just around the corner! There were even plans for the adults at the library to have fun too! Everyone at the library was eager and excited to get started. They did such a good job helping to get things ready, they even inspired each other to consider their own adventures!

“Gosh! All of these adventures sound wonderful and exciting! Do you think we should do something on our own?” Sherri suggested with nervous anticipation.

“Let’s do it!” Nelson agreed with excitement. “Then we’ll have our own adventures to tell our friends about!”

And so, just like that, Sherri and Nelson started making their plans and prepared to make their way out into the world. Each adventurer planned a different journey so they could share their stories with each other when they got home as well! Their librarian friends wished them good luck, and off they went to explore and discover wherever their journey might take them next!

Sherri is making her journey through the Kansas ShareIt Library System (courier transfers only please!). Nelson is traveling across the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) via courier. They are leaving Monday, May 20, 2024, and should start their journey back to the Seneca Free Library on or around Friday, August 16, 2024. The goal is for them to visit as many network libraries as possible and hopefully learn a little bit about the library, their communities, and, of course, the wonderful library staff who work there!

Here at the Seneca Free Library, we’ll be posting updates on where Sherri and Nelson are at, tracking their journey on our Kansas map where our patrons can see it, and sharing all the fun and interesting pictures, info, and whatever else our creative librarian peers across Kansas might come up with. (Library Staff, please submit updates and media to Thank you for participating!) We are super excited to follow and share this journey with all of you RIGHT HERE! So don’t forget to check back often to see what our intrepid duo are up to!

Kansas is Bigger than we Thought!

Track That Trip! (Updated 7/5/2024)

Click the map to view the image closer.

Sherri Arrives in Ellinwood!
(Stop #4 – 7/2/2024)

Sherri made a stop in Ellinwood, KS and had the opportunity to hangout with the Ellinwood School and Community Library staff and summer program participants for their last Summer Library Session and their End of Summer Library Bash! They had story time, games, crafts, and so much fun! Sherri had a blast with her new friends and was excited to be a part of wrapping up a successful summer program.

Ellinwood School and Community Library
210 N Schiller Ave
Ellinwood, KS 67526

Ellinwood, KS has a population around 1980 (2022 Census), and is in Barton County. Other attractions in Ellinwood include the Ellinwood Underground Tunnels, Wolf Hotel, and the Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Wildlife Refuge, both of which are natural wetlands.

Nelson Arrives in Osage City!
(Stop #3 – 6/28/2024)

Nelson visited Osage City! He reportedly had a lovely visit with the library staff at Osage City Public Library, but had to keep his stay brief before hopping the courier to his next destination.

Osage City Public Library
515 Main St
Osage City, KS 66523

Osage City, KS has an estimated population of 2,816 (2022) and is located in Osage County. While not readily boasting about its own attractions, Osage City sits between Topeka and Emporia, positioned as a jump off point for several attractions in the surrounding areas.

Sherri Arrives in Whitewater!
(Stop #3 – 6/20? – Date Not Confirmed)

Sherri made her way through Whitewater, KS and stopped at Whitewater Memorial Library

Whitewater Memorial Library
118 E Topeka St,
Whitewater, KS 67154

Whitewater , KS has an estimated population of 667, and is northeast of Wichita in Butler County. Recent library activities include story time, “Take and Make” crafts, fused glass art, and butter making.

Sherri Arrives in Derby!
(Stop #2 – 6/15? – Date Not Confirmed)

Sherri made her way through Derby, KS and stopped at Derby Public Library.

Derby Public Library
1600 Walnut Grove Rd
Derby, KS 67037

Derby, KS has an estimated population of 25,939 (2022). It is located in Sedgwick County and is the largest suburb of Wichita, southeast of the main metro. Area attractions include the Museum of World Treasures, Field Station: Dinosaurs, and Rock River Rapids Aquatic Park.

Nelson Arrives in Basehor!
(Stop #2 – 6/5/2024)

Nelson spent some good solid quality time taking in the sites and services of Basehor Community Library. He got to hear all about Outdoor Story Time, Reader’s Theater, Beginning Birding, ATLAS Education with Animals, and Family Trivia Night. But rather than tell you about his time at Basehor, Nelson and his new friends decided to bring you with him in the following video!


Nelson the NEKLS Gnome from the Seneca Free Library is on an adventure to visit Kansas libraries, and he stopped by the Basehor Community Library today! #librarytiktok #librarytok #fyp #basehor

? Aesthetic – Tollan Kim & Kudasaibeats

Basehor Community Library
1400 158th Street
Basehor, KS 66007

Basehor, KS has an estimated population of 7,544, is located northwest of Kansas City on the eastern border, and is part of the Kansas City Metro Area. Main attractions include Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery and Falcon Lakes Golf Club.

Sherri Arrives in Louisburg!
(Stop #1 – 6/5/2024)

Louisburg Library welcomed Sherri with excitement and got her straight into the action! Sherri attended the Summer Blessings Lunch and Fun where they served food to over 100 kiddos and distributed bags of groceries as well. Then she joined the kids in drawing on the parking lot with sidewalk chalk until it got too hot! The next day Sherri joined Adventure Camp for 3rd-5th grade kiddos and helped give pointers on how to hit a bullseye! She went back to the library and got to help supervise the Teen Guitar Building Class where they were hydro-dipping the bodies of their guitars. Yep, you read that right, they make their own guitar. Rock on Sister Sherri! Rock on!

Louisburg Library
206 S. Broadway
Louisburg, Kansas 66053

Louisburg, KS is on the eastern border just south of Kansas City. It has an estimated population of about 5,052 people and is the home of Louisburg Cider Mill, Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Education Center, and the Powell Observatory. Louisburg Library hosts no shortage of events on site, but they are also partnered with multiple organizations and services to expand their coverage and presence in other locations such as the Vintage Park Assisted Living Center and Louisburg Senior Center.

Special thanks to Louisburg Library for hosting Sherri and letting her join in on some great activities! Next stop, Derby!

Nelson Arrives in Bonner Springs!
(Stop #1 – 5/23/2024)

Our friends at Bonner were delighted to meet Nelson, but unsurprisingly buried in work with their own Summer Reading startup. They introduced Nelson to their busy beaver friend and let the duo do some camping before Nelson had to go on his merry way.

Bonner Springs City Library
201 N Nettleton Ave
Bonner Springs, KS 66012

Bonner Springs has an estimated population of 7,666 (as 2022). It is part of the Kansas City Metro area, but is itself home to the Azura Amphitheater, Kansas City Renaissance Festival (August 31-Oct 14), Moon Marble Company, and Exit Games KC (Escape Room challenge available for our Summer Adventure Theme!)

Thanks to Bonner Springs City Library for hosting Nelson and sending him on to his next destination!

Adventure Begins in Your Library: July Adventure Theme is Stargazing

July is for Stargazing!

July’s monthly adventure theme is Stargazing! Who doesn’t want a summer activity that isn’t based in the heat of the afternoon sun? Want to do more than walk out your backdoor and look up at the sky? Why not pack a snack cooler with ice cold drinks and travel snacks (precut fruit like strawberries, cantaloupe, or watermelon make great options)! Take a blanket or two to sit on, drive out into the country to escape the light pollution from the street lights, find a safe place to park, sit out in the bed of your truck or set up a picnic spot, and take in the wonders of the night sky. Have a special someone? Make it a date night and have two adventures for the effort of one! Want to bring the kids instead? Make a game of identifying constellations and planets! We have a number of books on constellations and stars to help get you started. Our Adventure Backpacks are also a great option to bring with you

Want more tips on how to get the most out of your stargazing adventure?…/stargazing-top-tips

Story Time and Crafts, Summer 2024

Episode Four (Wednesday, June 26, 2024)

Miss Dee wrapped up our Summer Story Time Series on Wednesday, June 26. We had a fun and energetic group for this round of storytelling and craft making. Miss Dee brought the following books to life for our guests: “There is a Bird on Your Head,” by Mo Willems, “This Books Will Get You to Sleep,” by Jory John, “This is Not My Hat,” by Jon Klassen, “Please Don’t Read This Book,” by Deanna Kizis, and “Don’t Trust Cats” by Dev Petty. Our preschool group made Butterfly Feeders and our elementary group made Dream Catchers.

We’d like to thank all of our youngsters and adults who came out to join us for our June series! We had a great time with you all and hope you had fun too! Happy reading and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Episode Three (Wednesday, June 19, 2024)

Miss Dee hosted another Story Time and Crafts session with a group of 40 kids and parents in attendance on June 19th. She read “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by Ryan T. Higgins, “Ten Pigs: an Epic Bath Adventure” by Derek Anderson, “Nobody’s Duck” by Mary Sullivan, “My Toothbrush is Missing,” by Jan Thomas, “Let’s Go on a Hike!” by Katrina Liu, and “Ribbit!” by Rodrigo Folgueira. The preschool group designed and crafted their own “Bitty Bugs” using plastic Easter eggs. Our elementary grade group made “Bottle Bugs” out of recycled Mt. Dew bottles. Between the awesome storytelling and creative craft projects, it was pretty clear everyone had a great time at the end of each session!

Episode Two (Wednesday, June 12, 2024)

Miss Dee took our summer story squad on another adventure through Story Time and Crafts on Wednesday, June 12th. She read “A Couch for Llama” by Leah Gilbert, “Mom, the School Flooded,” by Ken Rivard and “The Bug Girl (A true story)” by Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara. The preschool group made their own Glimmer Discs to decorate their rooms with. Our elementary grade group made light up constellation jars. Everyone was super excited to hear Miss Dee’s story’s and show off their projects. We can’t wait to see all our friends again next week! We were pretty busy on the library side during this time also and didn’t get to catch as many pictures as we’d have liked this time. If any of the adults who were there have pictures they want to share, either of the story telling, craft time, or just of a finished product, we’d love to see them. Email them to, and we’ll get them posted! (Please note which day the pictures are from so we can post them to the right gallery! Thanks!)

Episode One (Wednesday, June 5, 2024)

Miss Dee opened up our Story Time and Crafts season with a group of 50 kids and parents in attendance on June 5th. She read “Silly Tilly” by Eileen Spinelli, “Frank and Bert” by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros, and “a bear, a fish, and a fishy wish” by Daniel Bernstrom. The preschool group made their own binoculars to go out and explore with. Our elementary grade group made dream catchers. Everyone was super excited for their first story time of the season and we look forward to seeing all our friends again next week!

Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science RETURNS Tuesday, June 18!

Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science RETURNS Tuesday, June 18!

Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science *RETURNS* to Seneca Free Library on Tuesday, June 18, at 10:30 AM! Kids of Kindergarten age through adults will thrill at the wild wonders and excitement of applied science though chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering presented in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Admission is free to our area patrons and residents. Don’t miss out on this local favorite!

Got a kid who’s a hard sell on science? Tell them there will be explosions and stuff and it’s kind of like a magic show. Shhh! They don’t have to know it’s educational till it’s too late!

*Program note, this event is recommended as unsuitable for preschoolers or toddlers.

The Mailbox Adventures of Gerald and Tess!

Our library mascots, Gerald Giraffe and Tess T-Rex, have indicated that they are super excited for all of our young readers to come in for Summer Reading, but they’re feeling a bit left out of the Summer Vacation Adventures scene. Can you and your young adventure seekers help them out?

Mail Gerald and Tess a postcard from the road or a letter telling them about your vacation and summer activities! If you forget to mail cards during your trip or didn’t have a stamp handy, you can always drop your postcard or letter in their personal mailbox in the library yourself (located on the circulation desk across from the kids’ pagoda). One of the best parts of adventuring is sharing your story with others, so why not tell us about yours! They’d love to hear what you’re up to! Send post to:

Gerald and Tess

c/o Seneca Free Library

606 Main St.

Seneca, KS 66538

Check back on this page later and you just might find your story being shared with Gerald and Tess in fun and unique ways!


Director Kate discovered these notes to Gerald and Tess in their personal mailbox this morning. It’s their first official mailbox delivery so we were all quite excited. And, as a personal note, if you’ve never witnessed a plush giraffe blush, it’s quite the sight to see.

SUMMER READING Registration Begins Monday, May 20!

School’s wrapped up. Graduates have been sent off in style. Summer is hot on our heels. That means it’s time for SUMMER READING 2024!

This year, Summer Reading registration for all ages begins May 20 and continues through June 8. Paper reading records are available here at the library or you can use the MyLibro app on your mobile device (access to the online log won’t open until May 20). Once you’ve met the summer reading goal you can return your record to the library between June 24 and July 31 for a super fun surprise that focuses on our program theme “Adventure Begins in Your Library!”

Preschool Story Time with Ms. Dee will be Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26th at 10:00 AM (ages birth to post-kindergarten) and includes story and craft time.

Elementary Story Time with Ms. Dee will be Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26th at 1:30 PM (ages 1st to 3rd grade) and includes story and craft time.

Cooking with Kids will return in June! Dates and times will be confirmed and posted soon!

Kady and Izzy the Corgi will be here Tuesday, June 4 at 10:30 AM for a read-aloud from Kady’s books and a “How-to-draw” session. (Age appropriate for first grade and up.)

Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science and “The Adventures of Biblio, the Superhero” RETURNS Tuesday, June 18 at 10:30 AM. (This patron favorite’s program is appropriate for elementary age students, first grade and up.)

And don’t forget our new adult program (18+), “Passport Seneca Extravaganza 2024!” Registration for this summer adventure also begins May 20 and ends June 8.

It’s a summer of Activities and Adventures here at Seneca Free Library! Don’t miss out! We look forward to seeing you!

Summer Reading Adventures Begin SOON!

School’s almost wrapped up. Graduates have been sent off in style. Summer is hot on our heels. That means SUMMER READING 2024 is just around the corner!

This year, Summer Reading registration for all ages begins May 20 and continues through June 8. Our summer program theme will be “Adventure Begins in Your Library!”

Adventures we have planned include Preschool Story Time and Crafts with Ms. Dee, Elementary Story Time and Crafts with Ms. Dee, Cooking with Kids will return in June with Deb Haverkamp, Author and Illustrator duo Kady and Izzy the Corgi will be reading from her books and teaching a beginning drawing class, Jet Pack Jason of Mad Science and “The Adventures of Biblio, the Superhero” returns, and we will be kicking off our Adult Program (18+) “Passport Seneca Extravaganza 2024!”

It’s a summer of Activities and Adventures here at Seneca Free Library! More details and information will drop right here near the end of the week, so stay tuned!

Adventure Begins in Your Library: May’s Suggested Activity is Picnicking

The Summer Reading Program theme for 2024 is “Adventure Begins in Your Library,” but in May, adventure actually begins in your kitchen as the theme is “Picnics and Outdoor Dining.”

Now, I’m going to be super honest, I have a thing about bugs. Buzzing, crawling, jumping, doesn’t matter, I don’t want them near me, and I really don’t want them near my food. So as charming an idea as picnics have always been to me, I don’t know much about them. But if you’re an outdoorsy type, dining al fresco or in a beautiful and remote location may be right up your alley. The following article by Professor Teresa Hunsaker of Utah State University may help make your next picnic a major success instead of a cautionary tale of “this is why we stay inside.”

Ask an Expert: Five Tips for the Perfect Picnic

By: Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension family and consumer sciences educator

Picnics are the perfect way to get out and enjoy the outdoors without going too far or spending a lot of money. Picnicking can fit almost any budget and can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Some of the best picnics happen on the spur of the moment and don’t need a lot of planning. No picnic basket? No problem. Anything that holds your supplies will do.

Consider these tips for the perfect picnic.

* Pack your picnic with food safety in mind. If you will be gone longer than 2 hours from departure to eating, plan to pack a cooler. After 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour if temperatures are around 90 F), harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning multiply rapidly. USDA guidelines say cold foods should be kept as close to 40 F as possible and hot foods should be kept above 140 F.

* Keep your cooler ready. If you are planning to make picnics a regular part of your summer, consider investing in a cooler-on-wheels for portability. To help keep foods cold, chill them in the refrigerator before packing and keep them in the cooler until serving time.

* Get double duty from your cooler space. Fill empty drink bottles half full of water or juice and freeze. The frozen drinks will act as ice packs to keep the picnic cool in transit. At your destination, top off the bottles with water or a drink to enjoy with your meal.

* Be mindful of your picnic location. When planning your food items, consider where you are going. Even if it’s just to the park, it will help you prepare by considering the setting. Avoid anything that gets drippy, limp or wimpy in warm weather. Gelatin salad is a perfect example of what not to take, and even tossed salads will wilt if left in the sun or warm weather for very long.

* Make a menu. For a no-fuss menu, have a fix-your-own sandwich bar. Fill plastic containers with pre-sliced sandwich fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Set out hearty breads, crusty rolls or tortilla wraps and condiments. To add a gourmet touch, splurge on a couple of interesting spreads, such as pesto, tapenade or flavored soft cheese. Everyone can build a custom sandwich for a fraction of what it would cost at the deli.

* Sometimes the fun of a summer picnic is the spontaneity, and having fruits and vegetables on hand will make packing a breeze. Simple finger food, like carrots, celery, sliced jicama and sliced bell peppers are cool, crispy additions to any picnic plate and a great way to include vegetables. Add a vegetable dip, and you have a quick and easy side dish.

* Keep supplies on hand. If you plan to picnic frequently this summer, make a standard packing list for spur-of-the-moment jaunts, and keep your pantry stocked with food that is suitable for a picnic. Include the following items on your supply list: napkins, plates, cups, dinnerware; garbage bags; plastic bags that seal; serving utensils and cutting knives; can opener; cutting mat or board; salt and pepper, packets of condiments; blanket to sit on; hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth in a plastic bag; paper towels; insect repellent; extra water; and don’t forget equipment for activities including balls, games, Frisbees, etc.

By: Teresa Hunsaker, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences educator, (801) 399-8200,

Summer Projects Need Your Help!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Weekend Warriors, Families of Graduates, and Mother’s Day Diners… we need your help again! Our pickle predicament is almost resolved, but another project calls. We need 6″ diameter plastic food container lids similar to the example shown. Like the jars, the brand and actual contents aren’t important, but the general size and shape are what we’re after (the example just happens to be a 48 oz potato salad lid as an example). With so many receptions, barbecues, and Mother’s Day dinners coming up this weekend we figure now’s the time to ask!

If you manage to rescue some of these lids from a fate in the dumpster, drop them off at the circulation desk during regular hours and we’ll be happy to take them off your hands. Thanks again for all your help! The pickle jar response has been fantastic (we can still use just a few more 24 oz jars to fill our order and maintain a couple of spares just in case)! You’ve all come through for us in a spectacular way and we greatly appreciate it!


Who wouldn’t want a beautiful Eric Carle print quilt to snuggle up in while reading Eric Carle books to children or grand children? Here is your chance to win just such a quilt and 4 board books.

The quilt is 50 x 60 inches, features loveable characters from his books and is machine quilted. The four books are The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket and the Very Hungry Caterpillar, which also includes a plush toy caterpillar.

Stop by the library to see for yourself this beautiful quilt

  Proceeds from the raffle will go towards hiring performers and bringing programs to the library for Summer Reading.

Chances are $1.00 each or 6 chances for $5.00.

Chances can be purchased at the Library, Cornerstone Coffee Haus or at Seneca Variety.

 The drawing will be held Wednesday December 21.

Just in time for gift giving…if the winner can part with it!